ROME — Italy opened the European Championship with an impressive 3-0 victory over Turkey on Friday, thanks to a flurry of second-half goals after a slow first half in the opening match of the delayed 2020 tournament. Watch video highlights of the game.
After a 0-0 first half of play, the Italians took the lead through an own-goal from Turkey defender Merih Demiral in the 53rd minute of play at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Ciro Immobile added a second goal when he kicked in a rebound from close range in 66th minute and Lorenzo Insigne completed the historic victory in the 79th, following a poor clearance by the Turkish defenders.
The 3-0 win marked he first time Italy were scoring three goals in a European Championship game.
“It was important to start well here in Rome and it is a joy for us and for all the Italians,” said coach Roberto Mancini.
“We produced a good performance and I think we satisfied everyone, for the fans and all the Italians watching. (But) there are six games to go and there are a lot of good teams.”
The Italians, who had 24 total attempts at goal in the game with eight on target, dominated from the start but were denied in the first half by a superb save from Turkey goalkeeper Uurcan Çak1r and a decision by the referee not to award a penalty for an apparent handball.
The tournament began a year late because of the coronavirus pandemic and is still being called Euro 2020.
Fans were able to attend the game on Friday, but the Stadio Olimpico was only 25% full because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Those who attended the game sat in small groups safely distanced from one another. The crowd of about 16,000 was still the largest gathering in Italy for a year and a half.
Wales and Switzerland play in another Group A match on Saturday in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Tomorrow will have a total of three games, we will continue to provide highlights and recaps of the games.
Man of the Match – TURKEY / ITALY: Leonardo Spinazzola
Italian defender Leonardo Spinazzola completed 83 per cent of his passes, had two attempts on target, and an assist to go along with the fact that Italy didn’t allow a single shot. He was your Man of the Match.